Tuesday, April 30, 2013

KK City Tourism Hunt 2013—A Blast From The Past

I've been known to employ the element of psychology when setting hunt questions, and it has even become something of my trademark, so to speak. I admire CoCs who are able to also set questions to include psychological elements. In the KK City Tourism Hunt last Sunday, we saw a brave attempt by the CoC to do just that!

The question was for the walk hunt sector in the basement of the Suria Mall. It wasn't a "bolded" question, and one would expect it to be a touch and go sort of riddle, especially for the regular teams. The first time I read the question, however, I noticed that dreadful "?" at the end of the sentence. The "?" usually implies some sort of indirect meaning; perhaps in a punny way, in cryptic clues. For example "Sideway pedestrian?" may refer to the crab, because the creature walks sideway. A strong hunter I spoke to after the hunt said the "?" is a "sound's like indicator". I'm not sure where he got that information!

But anyway, where should we start? Well, the most logical approach is to start searching for all the big cats, such as tigers, leopards, cheetahs, jaguars, lions on any signboard simply because they are the big cats. Of course we may also need to keep our eyes open for the Malay synonyms of those too such as harimau or singa. And then hopefully we can then try to figure out how to connect the "berkembang".

The search didn't take very long; 2 signs practically leapt to the eyes. One was with a PUMA SOCIAL on it, together with a PUMA.COM underneath. Another sign was CAT EXPLORER. I liked PUMA a lot, but I wasn't really happy with both SOCIAL and COM. For a while we deliberated if there is anyway we could force-fit by equating SOCIAL to BERKEMBANG. We also considered the suitability of CAT EXPLORER. I thought the CAT could fit, but where does "besar" come in? My teammate suggested that maybe "besar" in this case means "huruf besar"? Hmmm.... looking very weak to me. Besides, I still did not find it very convincing to connect EXPLORER to BERKEMBANG.

But actually, all those were just the red herrings, i.e. decoys for the intended answer: TIGER ORCHID.

Truth be told, there is really nothing very completed in the solution. TIGER is of course a big cat; and the ORCHID, which is a flower, indirectly answers "berkembang". But I was amused by the location of this answer. It is found on the huge building column right in front of the main entrance of the basement floor! Who in the world would ever thought of looking there? I think it's a brilliant idea; I love it so much that I would have been proud to set this question myself!

The only thing I would not do, however, is to include the letter "H" in "KUCHING". That H absolutely destroys what would have otherwise been a masterpiece in my opinion; something so simple and straightforward, yet so many failed to find the answer! The presence of that H in that word has resulted in the TIGER ORCHID no longer a fitting answer, simply because since about half a century ago, KUCHING no longer means CAT! The correct spelling for the Malay word for CAT is KUCING (without the H). Let us now discuss about this issue for a bit.

Imagine for a moment that I want to say AYAM and I intend to mean CHICKEN. But a typo occurred somehow, and it became BAYAM instead; that is to say, I had unintentionally added a B to the word. Can I then insist that the hunter should still read my mind and know that I had intended CHICKEN anyway, and not SPINACH (bayam, the vegetable)? What do you think?

My view is that when there is a typo and the resulting word has a different meaning because of that typo, then that new meaning should prevail, unless of course if the CoC can intervene in time to make the correction. Perhaps the hunters can be a little forgiving if the additional letter does not result in a word with a different meaning(s). Then in such a case, maybe some people would argue that it is obvious that there's been a typo. But I still don't like it!

But what's the case with KUCHING? Because of that H in the word, it becomes a wrongly-spelt word for CAT. So that renders all the cats out of the equation! Do we then take it for granted that it's a typo? Or what if that H is there intentionally? The CoC was there watching the hunters in action. Yet he said nothing about the clue. So my belief was that that H must be there deliberately.

Quite honestly, I did not see all this for a while, until Claire remarked innocently that there's that H in KUCHING. And it suddenly came to me like lightning. I'm a little embarrassed to admit that I missed that little detail before that! 

You see, KUCHING, when spelt like that has only one other meaning—it is the name of a city in Sarawak. It is in fact the capital city of Sarawak. So now I began to see the whole clue from a different angle.


Now when KUCHING takes the "CITY" meaning like it should in this case, then we are looking for a BIG CITY (Kuching besar), and one that is EXPANDING (berkembang).

I'm taking the trouble to explain all this because I have a feeling that whoever it was who marked Team Megapawns' answer for this question, he or she might have thought it was a random guess. But METRO is a common abbreviation for METROPOLITAN, a big city, and JAYA may in a way agree with and expanding city on account of that "?" at the end of the sentence. That's how I arrived at METROJAYA.

I was quite happy with my answer having failed to find anything better, until the time when the CoC revealed his solution. It was a case of a cat blasted from the past before 1972.


Christine said...

The spelling mistake for KUCHING is an elementary one. I'm surprised the other members of the COC didn't notice it. This is actually not a difficult question to solve given enough time. I hope nobody in the top 30 got the right answer otherwise it would have been unfair to the rest.

2 Romans 1 Impostor said...

My other 2 team mates spotted this while Cassie and I were rushing to Teluk Likas praying hard to avoid disqualification.

Not condoning the answer, but guess its a case of nothing better out there.

Cornelius said...

Well, I suppose CoCs are humans too, and therefore can't escape from making mistakes. It's just that sometimes all we can do is to wish that the frequency of mistakes can be a little less.